Lockdown Team Blog - Series 2: Karen Campbell

02 February 2021

3 minutes to read.

Last year, our teams produced a series of blogs written by colleagues across multiple divisions of the company. They provided a small insight into our evolving working practices and values as we all adjusted to our new post-COVID19 world. Now we're back with our second series!

Here is the fourth in our 2nd series of posts from our Chief Information Officer, Karen Campbell.

"Who remembers “the good old days”? The times we went to the shops to pick up lunch, the odd cheeky Starbucks or Costa, trying to resist the office biscuits - all seems like a distant memory for most of us. How many of us were excited at the thought of working from home and now are desperate to actually go into the office? I know I am! One day, hopefully in the not too distant future, we will get that opportunity again.

The situation we find ourselves in at the moment has presented us all with different challenges, and we’ve all felt the anxiety, the strangeness of social distancing, the isolation from friends and family and the battle between our professional and personal lives as we’ve settled into working from our couches or dining tables.

I recently heard a different take on a common analogy. We are all in the same storm, but we are sailing different boats. That really rings true for me; all of our experiences throughout this time have been completely individual and unique to us, but we are all in it together and at Carpenters, we have a strong team and support system in place to help navigate the storm.

Our Wellbeing Champions are there no matter what time of day, to provide support with concerns about mental health and mental wellbeing. Our strong HR team work closely with the Well Being Champions and together they will be rolling out a number of initiatives to try and improve wellbeing and raise awareness around mental health.

One of my biggest challenges over the last year has been trying to find a balance between my work and home life. I am a Mum of two lively boys and currently trying to be a teacher too, the less said about how home schooling is going the better! It has been a struggle that I know so many people are also facing. Lots of you will be looking after elderly parents, vulnerable family members, neighbours or friends who cannot get out, volunteering, being a friendly ear at the end of a phone and the dedication and resilience our teams have shown during this time has been extraordinary.

Despite everything, we have achieved so much in the last year at Carpenters. As a business, we have met challenges head on and had some great success. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 months since I’ve seen some of my colleagues considering what we have achieved whilst working remotely. My youngest Son has affectionately renamed a colleague and I ‘Tesco Extra’ because “we’re open 24/7” maybe sometimes working from home makes it harder to switch off!

I have always been proud of my team but this year they have managed to exceed all expectations. From the initial rollout of homeworking infrastructure to the entire business in the space of a few weeks to pushing ahead with our overall development road map, the IT team have gone from strength to strength and kept our business working as normal and allowed us to be there for our customers too. There have been a few hurdles along the way and the team have been agile in their approach and been able to prioritise ensuring we can all continue to operate in our new home environment. In fact the team have been so busy that they’ve had to grow over the last few months with the following joining our amazing team; two Workflow Developers, Service Desk Manager, BI Developer, Project Manager and 1st Line Support. I can’t imagine starting a new job somewhere and not being able to meet my colleagues in person or figure out my way around the office but I know once we’re back to normal, the team will be stronger than ever with our new members.

As we look forward to 2021 and getting back to ‘normal’ I’m thinking about what parts of the last year I want to bring into the future and what I took for granted before. Popping into a friends for a coffee, having my parents round on a Saturday (and sending the kids to theirs for a sleepover every now and again!) being able to stick my head round the door to ask a colleague a question… We were all so busy with life, trying to juggle work and home and often putting lots of pressure on ourselves to keep up the pace. This last year has given us the opportunity to slow down and really appreciate what matters most to us, for me that is my family’s health and happiness. In work, it’s being there for each other, supporting each other to meet our shared goals and appreciating how much we depend on each other to succeed."

About the author 

Karen Campbell, Chief Information Officer

Karen joined Carpenters Group in 2003 as IT Manager and has created a dynamic and forward-thinking IT team to deliver the systems and technical expertise to enable Carpenters to meet and exceed their growth plans. As Chief Information Officer, Karen oversees a large team who are responsible for achieving and surpassing the IT requirements of both internal and external stakeholders. As a member of the Executive Board Karen ensures that an innovative and robust IT strategy is implemented to support the firm, clients and staff.

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